Government, Politics, and Reform
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln are all represented in the Museum's collections—by a surveying compass, a lap desk, and a top hat, among other artifacts. But the roughly 100,000 objects in this collection reach beyond the possessions of statesmen to touch the broader political life of the nation—in election campaigns, the women's suffrage movement, labor activity, civil rights, and many other areas. Campaign objects make up much of the collection, including posters, novelties, ballots, voting machines, and many others. A second group includes general political history artifacts, such as first ladies' clothing and accessories, diplomatic materials, ceremonial objects, national symbols, and paintings and sculptures of political figures. The third main area focuses on artifacts related to political reform movements, from labor unions to antiwar groups.
"Government, Politics, and Reform - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the annexation of Texas, the land claims of many Mexican families were not respected, either by the new English-speaking settlers or by the U.S. government. Dispossession from family- and community-owned lands dealt a severe economic blow to the livelihood of generations of Mexican Americans. The issue of land evokes especially bitter memories in New Mexico. In 1967, the year this poster was made with the slogan Tierra o Muerte, meaning Land or Death, a Hispanic land rights organization called La Alianza, led by Reies López Tijerina, raided the Rio Arriba County courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico. In addition to reclaiming land from the government of New Mexico, the goals of the raid were to free imprisoned Alianza members and to arrest the district attorney who was prosecuting them as communists and outside agitators. The raid on the courthouse was ultimately unsuccessful and Tijerina served time in a federal prison. Although seen by some as a divisive figure, Reies López Tijerina was as recognizable as Cesar Chavez to many Chicano activists of the late 1960s. Mirroring similar political tensions in the African American community, Chicano civil rights activists were torn between leaders such as Chavez, who advocated nonviolence, and leaders like Tijerina, whose political strategy was decidedly more militant.
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center